Spotlight: Glass Eye
Although mostly recorded over a decade ago, Glass Eye's forthcoming "lost" final album, Every Woman's Fantasy (RexyRex), could've been recorded last week. Such is the mixed blessing of being a band forever out of time.
"There wasn't really a movement that had come and passed that dated our music," says bassist/vocalist/producer Brian Beattie. "It still sounds just like it did then because it didn't have a cultural reference point outside of our teeny social world."
The reunited Austin avant-pop quartet's SXSW show is their first since 1993. With industry-related anxieties behind them, Glass Eye plans to play occasional shows around town to promote Every Woman's Fantasy and upcoming reissues of earlier albums. "I'm just relieved to be having fun," says Beattie.
That wasn't the case in 1993. Glass Eye had soldiered for a decade, becoming beloved in Austin and signing with Bar/None, for whom they recorded 1988's Bent by Nature and 1989's Hello Young Lovers. A big-record-deal-gone-bad followed, leaving disillusionment in its wake.
"We barely glanced the world of major label music, and it was just as pathetic and sad as if we'd gotten fully into it," recalls Beattie.
Perhaps that explains why Every Woman's Fantasy is their hardest-rocking effort. Then again, Beattie, guitarist/vocalist Kathy McCarty, keyboardist Stella Weir, and drummer Scott Marcus always had a more raucous edge than their albums indicate.
"We would play shows occasionally with bands like the Butthole Surfers and the Jesus Lizard," Beattie says. "We knew we weren't like those bands, but there was a side of us that was stupid, noisy, and anal-expulsive."
Unlike the overt insurgency of the Buttholes, Glass Eye's mutant strain of pop defied convention in a more insidious manner. "We never really understood how strange it sounded," reveals Beattie. "It took going back and listening again after hearing normal stuff and thinking, 'Wow, I guess it was a little bit odd.'"